Under the Criminal Code, a judge in criminal court can order a convicted offender to pay money, known as restitution, to people who have been injured or whose property has been damaged as a result of a crime. The following is a brief explanation of how to request restitution in a criminal court and how you can start the process of following up on a restitution order if one is granted to you.
Asking for restitution
After an offender is found guilty, victims and other people who have suffered a loss as a result of the crime can ask the court to order the offender to pay restitution as part of their sentence. To make this request, fill out a Statement on Restitution form (hard copies are available through your Victim Services Worker or Crown Witness Coordinator). You must identify what you are seeking restitution for (such as damaged property), and how much restitution you are requesting for each item. You must provide receipts for each item to support your claim so the judge can objectively confirm the amounts. This means that you cannot claim restitution for intangible things like fear or suffering, to which different people would assign different values. Once you have completed and signed your Statement on Restitution, provide it to the Crown prosecutor who will present the information in court on your behalf. See the chart called Asking for Restitution for a simplified explanation of how to ask for restitution.
If the judge makes an order for restitution, you will be asked to provide your contact information to the court clerk, including a mailing address. Your address is needed because the offender will make payments to the court registry, and staff there will then send a cheque in the amount of each payment to the mailing address you provide. Other contact information is collected in case court registry staff need to get in touch with you about your restitution order. Your contact information will not be available to the offender or the public.
You can also use the Statement on Restitution to indicate that you do not want to ask for restitution during the criminal court process. If you change your mind later, you can sue the offender in civil court, but cannot re-open the criminal court process.
If a judge grants restitution, a Restitution Order will be issued. This is a document that sets out the amount of restitution the offender must pay and a date or schedule for the payment(s). If no payment date or schedule is specified, the full amount is due on the date the Restitution Order is made. If the offender misses a payment due date, the recipient may choose to register the Restitution Order as a judgment in civil court, which is the first step in the process of enforcing the order (see the section on Enforcement of a Civil Judgment for Restitution below for more information on how you can do this).
Depending on the amount of restitution still owing under the Restitution Order, the recipient would file it in either Small Claims Court (if the order or outstanding amount is $25,000 or less) or Supreme Court (if the order or outstanding amount is $25,000.01 or more).
To file a Restitution Order in Small Claims Court, the recipient would visit or call the court registry and ask a clerk for a certified true copy of the Order, which can be provided in person or by mail. Once the certified true copy is received, take or mail it to the court registry and ask the clerk to file it as a civil judgment so that it can be enforced. There is no charge for either the certified true copy or for filing it in Small Claims Court. See the chart called Registering a Restitution Order as a Civil Judgment for a simplified explanation of how to file an order in Small Claims Court.
To file a Restitution Order in Supreme Court, the same basic process applies but the recipient would need to submit a Requisition to Open a File along with the certified true copy of the Order. There is no charge for the certified true copy or to file a Requisition to Open a File. The chart Registering a Restitution Order as a Civil Judgment shows the steps to file an order in Supreme Court.
The recipient does not have to register the Restitution Order if they do not want to enforce it. If the recipient changes their mind after they file the Restitution Order, they can withdraw or discontinue the civil action by filing a Notice of Withdrawal in Small Claims Court or a Notice of Discontinuance in Supreme Court.
Criminal orders that include restitution condition
In some cases the judge may include condition(s) in another type of criminal order (such as a Probation Order) that require the offender to pay restitution. In that case, if the offender does not make restitution payments in accordance with the conditions, the Crown prosecutor may decide to charge the offender for breaching the restitution conditions.
If the recipient wants to be able to enforce the restitution conditions in a criminal order, they must apply for a civil judgment.
To do so in Small Claims Court (if the order or outstanding amount is $25,000 or less), the recipient must file the following documents:
These documents will be sent to a judge for review and signature. There is no charge to file a criminal Order as a civil judgment in Small Claims Court.
To apply for a civil judgment in Supreme Court (if the order or outstanding amount is $25,000.01 or more), the recipient must file the following documents:
These documents will be sent to a judge for review and signature. There is no charge to file a criminal Order as a civil judgment in Supreme Court.
Once a judge in either Small Claims or Supreme Court has converted the Restitution Order or restitution conditions to a civil judgment for restitution, it can be enforced in a number of different ways. Court Services will not enforce the judgment on behalf of the recipient, but does have a guide to help recipients through the process. The booklet Judgments and How to Collect on a Small Claim has a section entitled "Enforcing Your Judgment: Collecting on a Claim" (starting on page 4), which explains your options, including:
To start the process of enforcement using one of these options, the recipient must file the appropriate form (available at www.yukoncourts.ca) at a court registry. On that form the recipient must deduct any restitution payments already made by the offender from the amount of restitution that was originally ordered by the judge. There is no fee to file one of these forms in either Small Claims Court or Supreme Court, but in some cases there may be other applicable fees (such as sheriff's fees to carry out writs).
Law Courts Building
2134 Second Ave
Phone: (867) 667-5441
Toll free: 1-800-661-0408 ext 5441
Fax: (867) 393-6212
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Phone: (867) 993-5070
Fax: (867) 993-5311
820C Adela Trail
Phone: (867) 536-7551
Fax: (867) 536-7564
Victim Services Workers
Yukon Department of Justice, Victim Services Branch
301 Jarvis St
Phone: (867) 667-8500
Toll free: 1-800-661-0408 ext 8500
705B Church St
Phone: (867) 993-5831
Fax: (867) 993-6380
820 Adela Trail
Phone: (867) 536-2541
Fax: (867) 536-2684
Crown Witness Coordinators
Public Prosecution Service of Canada
200 - 300 Main St
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2B5
Phone: (867) 667-8100
Yukon Public Legal Education Association
102 - 2131 Second Ave
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1C3
Phone: (867) 668-5297
Toll free: (866) 667-4305